Bedtime glory: Mr & Mrs Smith hotel awards
Ten years after their first guidebook hit the shelves, the boutique hotel specialists at Mr & Mrs Smith have announced the winners of their inaugural hotel awards
Saturday 09 November 2013
Almost 50,000 members of the public voted in 12 categories, choosing from more than 900 hotels around the world. A panel of judges – including chef Marcus Wareing, style bloggers Garance Doré and Scott Shulman, restaurateur Jeremy King and broadcaster Mariella Frostrup – then cast the deciding votes ...
Alila Villas Uluwatu, Bali, Indonesia
Staking a stylish claim on Bali's rugged Bukit Peninsula, this is a cool, contemporary resort which delivers dramatic, eco-friendly design in a jaw-dropping setting. Every inch is beautiful, but the bar is the most remarkable element – the cliff-edge construction juts out over the Indian Ocean in an angular bird's nest of bamboo and reclaimed wood. (alilahotels.com/uluwatu)
The Corfu Suite at Blakes Hotel, London, UK
One of the original pioneers of the boutique-hotel movement, Anouska Hempel's Blakes is an escapist melange of luxury, creativity and indulgence, with rooms reflecting a wide range of themes and eras. The magical, white-draped four-poster, the mother-of-pearl-inlaid furnishings and seductive air of serenity make Blakes' Corfu Suite the kind of honeymoon boudoir that soft-focused memories are made in. (blakeshotels.com)
Hottest Hotel Bar
Ace Hotel, New York, US
Hip, quirky and brimming with confidence, New York's Ace channels the spirit of its home city with flair. Criss-crossed by A-listers and movers and shakers at all times of day, the bustling lobby bar could be a stage-set swiped from Broadway. With panelled walls and distressed Chesterfields, the corner bar evokes the library of a Park Avenue apartment, and the cocktails from the Breslin are crafted by the master of the shaker, Milk & Honey's Sasha Petraske. (acehotel.com/newyork)
Best Spa Hotel
Como Shambhala Estate, Bali, Indonesia
Ubud in Bali is arguably the world capital of wellness retreats, and Como's flagship spa hotel stands head and deeply-relaxed shoulders above the rest. The estate is renowned for its holistic back-to-nature approach and promises to soothe, relax, cosset and revitalise – while surrounding you in totally tropical, thatched-pavilion, wall-to-wall waterfall luxury. East meets West in the Ojas spa, with therapies that run from Ayurveda to Thai massage and stress management. (comohotels.com/como shambhalaestate)
Best Hotel Restaurant
La Bastide de Moustiers, Provence, France
Given that the owner of this romantic Provençal inn, Alain Ducasse, holds more Michelin stars than any other chef in the world, it's hardly surprising that the food should be show-stopping. The restaurant is a love poem to the surrounding area, a gastronome's daydream that showcases the finest local produce in a daily-changing menu of delectably inventive dishes. There's no frippery, just simple, seasonal ingredients, intelligently prepared and served in a truly beautiful place. (bastide-moustiers.com)
The Eco Award
Sextantio Albergo Diffuso, Abruzzo, Italy
Albergo Diffuso is more than a hotel; it's a whole new accommodation concept built around restoration and sustainability. Spread around the buildings of what was an abandoned village high in the Apennines, the project hasn't just created a unique place to stay, it's reinvigorated an entire mountain village that would otherwise have been lost to history. Decorated with craftwork made by villagers and radiating rustic simplicity, but with modern luxury seamlessly incorporated, there's nowhere else like it. (sextantio.it)
Best for Families
Soneva Kiri, Koh Kood, Thailand
With a breathtaking jungle-meets-ocean setting, switched-on service and fun-loving attitude, eco-friendly Soneva Kiri takes luxury family holidays to a new level. The free kids' club, the Den, is impressive: Dutch architect Olav Bruin asked groups of children to design their dream play area – and then built on that. His fun, elegant bamboo construction resembles a manta ray swimming through the treetops. Activities focus on creativity and nature, so there's not a games console in sight, and they'll get a flavour of their destination, too: children can learn the Thai alphabet, create a local toy, learn a Thai instrument, or try their hand at traditional batik. (soneva.com/soneva-kiri)
Best Budget Boutique Hotel
Brody House, Budapest, Hungary
More than just a good-value hotel (rooms start at £50 a night), Budapest's Brody House is also a members' club with a stylish bar, a sometime film- and fashion-shoot set, and a thriving bohemian creative hub. From the graceful façade to almost everything inside, it's an inventive recycler's dream. There are old doors turned into headboards and beds incorporating attic rafters. It's a shabby-chic bastion of boho treasures that you simply won't find anywhere else. (brodyhouse.com)
The Greatest Outdoors
Dunton Hot Springs, Colorado, US
It's hard to beat the Rockies as a backdrop and this luxuriously restored Colorado mining town wisely lets the scenery do the talking. This mountain hideaway takes you straight back to the big-sky wilderness of the Old West, with log cabins, snow-capped peaks, not-so-lonesome pines and a perch on the porch to admire it all from. And, of course, there are the hot springs, which ensure Dunton is a year-round alfresco spa haven. (duntonhotsprings.com).
Above and Beyond
The Upper House, Hong Kong
The Upper House may be in the heart of the city, but you'll feel a tranquil world away from the moment you're met in the lobby by your personal "guest experience manager". This hotel prides itself on making stays simple, sedate and hassle-free. There's no queuing at reception (you're taken straight to your room), no extortion by mini bar (most snacks and drinks are free), no fussy formality (staff balance warmth and sincerity with near-breathtaking efficiency). Want room service? Just tap the in-room iPod Touch. (upperhouse.com)
Fogo Island Inn, Newfoundland, Canada
If you were seeking the latest sensation to hit the boutique hotel scene, it's perhaps unlikely you'd look to an island fishing village in northern Newfoundland. But the soul-soothing remoteness of this dramatic edge-of-the-Earth hideaway is what makes it so alluring. Although the bold, Scandinavian-style architecture is as modern as it gets, the inn is inspired by long-standing community tradition. Every detail connects back to the island. Area boat builders were retrained as furniture makers, a guild of quilters stitched the bespoke bedspreads and the chef is committed to locally foraged, caught or grown food. Fogo is a heartfelt home from home set against a sublime crashing-ocean backdrop. (fogoislandinn.ca)
Best Smith Hotel 2013
Post Ranch Inn, California, US
And, the overall winner ... clinging to a clifftop along California's wild, west coast, this big-name Big Sur sanctuary manages to melt into the dramatic surroundings while showcasing dreamy design within. Paying homage to architectural classics, including Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater, this hotel accentuates rather than dominates the already timeless scenery. Cabins and cottages hover at the rocky edge or perch in the trees, each offering an inspiring eyeful of towering redwoods and the Pacific 1,200ft below. The setting alone would put this hotel on most travellers' wish lists, but combined with the luxury of a fireside massage, three infinity pools, cliff-top hot tubs and a one-of-a-kind restaurant, it offers, quite simply, one of the world's very best places to stay. Who could resist? (postranchinn.com)
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